Wise Words: Who cares if your socks don’t match?

Even in a lightning fast digital world, the tradition of passing down wisdom from older to younger is just as important as ever. Which is why we’ve spent the last several months dreaming about the answer to the question: What advice do you wish you could give to your 10-year-old self?

You’re reading the second in a series of four short personal stories (here’s the first and third), each inspired by a page in our new book, Wise Words For Kids.


6:22am last Tuesday.

Like every morning, like millions across the world, I sit on the throne and check Facebook. Nowadays, it’s the only time I dedicate to it and it seems fitting. I just catch the message “Stay dry, rain expected in Barcelona” before it disappears into oblivion as my finger initiates a high speed scroll down my newsfeed.

I swear my attention span is down to milliseconds. Donald Trump vitriol saturates the news, as it has done for what seems like eternity. His intention was to reach every lunatic, racist, misogynistic voter out there… and we’ve all helped him achieve it. Every day you think his campaign is going to derail, and yet the juggernaut continues.

I need a run.

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Over the next half an hour, I know my head will untangle – work from family, yesterday from today, what’s important from what’s not. If you’re a runner, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s addictive therapy.

I leave the house and head for the beach, my head a big muddle of work, family, Trump. The next thing I know, thunder is rolling across the Mediterranean and a tropical flash dumps its load upon me.

In seconds, I’m soaked. Great.

I feel miserable. Why didn’t I take more notice of Facebook? I should know better. My own start-up is built upon the power of personalisation.

As I plod through the rain, one of the quotes from our book enters my head and refuses to leave the stage: “Don’t wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain.” Right now, metaphor and reality have collided.

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The start-up life is a series of challenges. You solve one and the next is limbering up ready for you. Learn to enjoy the journey.

I think about the new personalised book we’re creating for kids this christmas: Wise Words For Kids.

At the beginning, the idea of creating a personalised book of wisdom for an 8-12 year old felt a bit too serious. Fart cushions and Silly Putty were more on mark.

But as the book developed, it became more than a book of quotes. It became a beautiful way for uncle, aunty, parent, or godparent to help untangle the complexities and worries that could be swimming around in that child’s head causing stress. For the child, it was something to turn to at school or home that was fun and didn’t sound anything like an admonishing parent – so had an outside chance of being heard.

Some pages are cheeky, some serious, some daft. All are colourful and truthful.

As a father, I find myself saying things like “Just do as you’re told” to Enzo. I know it’s lazy and crap parenting. I’ve never met anyone of any age who likes to do as they’re told, let alone a six-year-old.

Your children are just doing their best to make sense of the world and themselves. Their worries are no smaller or less encompassing than any of ours.

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I arrive home drenched on the porch. Enzo opens the door and grins like only a six-year old with a missing front tooth can. “You’re wet, Daddy!”

“You could say that,” I reply, noticing he’s put on odd socks again. He never pays attention getting dressed: pants back-to-front, t-shirts inside-out… I resist the urge and bite my tongue. It’s good to wear odd socks now and again.


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